Today in Iowa, Hillary Clinton announced her plan to end the war in Iraq and urged President Bush to act immediately.
“Our message to the President is clear. It is time to begin ending this war – not next year, not next month – but today.
“We have heard for years now that as the Iraqis stand up, our troops will stand down. Every year, we hear about how next year they may start coming home. Now we are hearing a new version of that yet again from the President as he has more troops in Iraq than ever and the Iraqi government is more fractured and ineffective than ever.
“Well, the right strategy before the surge and post-escalation is the same: start bringing home America’s troops now.”
If President Bush does not end the war, when Hillary Clinton is President, she will. Her three-step plan would bring our troops home, work to bring stability to the region, and replace military force with a new diplomatic initiative to engage countries around the world in securing Iraq’s future. Hillary has been fighting every day in the Senate to force the President to change course. And today she described how she would bring the war to an end.
Starting Phased Redeployment within Hillary’s First Days in Office: The most important part of Hillary’s plan is the first: to end our military engagement in Iraq’s civil war and immediately start bringing our troops home. As President, one of Hillary’s first official actions would be to convene the Joint Chiefs of Staff, her Secretary of Defense, and her National Security Council. She would direct them to draw up a clear, viable plan to bring our troops home starting with the first 60 days of her Administration. She would also direct the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs to prepare a comprehensive plan to provide the highest quality health care and benefits to every service member – including every member of the National Guard and Reserves – and their families.
Securing Stability in Iraq as we Bring our Troops Home. As President, Hillary would focus American aid efforts during our redeployment on stabilizing Iraq, not propping up the Iraqi government. She would direct aid to the entities – whether governmental or non-governmental – most likely to get it into the hands of the Iraqi people. She would also support the appointment of a high level U.N. representative – similar to those appointed in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Kosovo – to help broker peace among the parties in Iraq.
A New Intensive Diplomatic Initiative in the Region. In her first days in office, Hillary would convene a regional stabilization group composed of key allies, other global powers, and all of the states bordering Iraq. The- mission of this group would be to develop and implement a strategy to create a stable Iraq. It would have three specific goals:
*Non-interference. Working with the U.N. representative, the group would work to convince Iraq’s neighbors to refrain from getting involved in the civil war.
*Mediation. The group would attempt to mediate among the different sectarian groups in Iraq with the goal of attaining compromises on fundamental points of disputes.
*Reconstruction funding. The members of the group would hold themselves and other countries to their past pledges to provide funding to Iraq and will encourage additional contributions to meet Iraq’s extensive needs.
As our forces redeploy out of Iraq, Hillary would also organize a multi-billion dollar international effort – funded by a wide range of donor states – under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to address the needs of Iraqi refugees. And as we replace military force with diplomacy and global leadership, Hillary will not lose sight of our very real strategic interests in the region. She would devote the resources we need to fight terrorism and will order specialized units to engage in narrow and targeted operations against al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in the region.